5 And it came to pass that Mosiah did read, and caused to be read, the records of Zeniff to his people; yea, he read the records of the people of Zeniff, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until they returned again.
6 And he also read the account of Alma and his brethren, and all their afflictions, from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until the time they returned again. (Mosiah 25:5-6)
This is interesting because it seems that even though the Book of Mosiah only gives us the record of Alma from the time they left Nephi-Lehi to the time they got to Zarahemla, evidently their record also contained history from further back to Zeniff. It would be really interesting to see if they redacted King Noah’s history to reflect how things really were.
7 And now, when Mosiah had made an end of reading the records, his people who tarried in the land were struck with wonder and amazement. (Mosiah 25:7)
Why might it be helpful to us to know that these records were read to all the people? I suppose it gives us a preliminary picture of what it will be like in the day when all the books are opened and everyone’s works are read upon the housetops.
Some of us have had an opportunity to read our parents’ journals. What about our grandparents or great grandparents’? What will we learn from their lives? What will strike us with wonder and amazement about their accounts? Might we begin to see patterns that we would not have seen if we only read our parents’ accounts? Might we begin to understand how each generation affected the following generation?
8 For they knew not what to think; for when they beheld those that had been delivered out of bondage they were filled with exceedingly great joy.
9 And again, when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow.
10 And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.
11 And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.
12 And it came to pass that those who were the children of Amulon and his brethren, who had taken to wife the daughters of the Lamanites, were displeased with the conduct of their fathers, and they would no longer be called by the names of their fathers, therefore they took upon themselves the name of Nephi, that they might be called the children of Nephi and be numbered among those who were called Nephites. (Mosiah 25:8-12)
We see here that records have the potential to arouse all kinds of different emotions, from every end of the spectrum, from pleasant to unpleasant. Joy, sorrow, gratitude, and pain all seem stronger when you knew the people in the story, and it is cranked up a notch when it is people you’re related to. We wish the story could have nothing but good, but we may be disappointed.
We also see that the people who had been part of the story became a sort of witness of the truth of the record. The people who escaped from the Lamanites were a witness that they had escaped, while it is sad to think of those who were not there because they had been killed by the Lamanites. Also, Alma and his people just being there were a second witness of the power of God to deliver His people, and also they could attest to the polluted state of the Lamanites, who they had to escape from.
I suppose we may think that we have to choose an all-encompassing observation and emotion through which to see stories, but it may be hard to do that. Stories can be complex, and so can people, mixes of good and evil.
When I apply this story to myself, it makes me wonder what other records besides my journal will end up saying about me. I hope it is good things. I hope I can repent of my sins fast enough that my sins as recorded in others’ records will not be mentioned to me at the last day.